Health and Safety: Notable case

Geotechnical Holdings Ltd (2011)

Mark Ellison QC and Adrian Darbishire acted for the Crown in the long-awaited first prosecution for an offence of corporate manslaughter, under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. 

The defendant, Cotswold Geotechnical (Holdings) Limited, was charged following the death of its employee, Alex Wright in September 2008.  The prosecution case was that the company's system of work in conducting soil investigation using trial pits was obviously and wholly unnecessarily dangerous. The company breached health and safety legislation and ignored well-recognised industry guidance that prohibited entry into unsupported excavations more than 1.2 metres deep, requiring junior employees to enter into and work in unsupported trial pits, typically from 2 to 3.5 metres deep.

Mr Wright was working in just such a pit when he died.  Yesterday, after two weeks of evidence, the jury at Winchester Crown Court took just over an hour to convict. 


Notable cases:

Inquest into the death of BW (2014)
Inquest into a death by electrocution
Adrian Darbishire QC | Selva Ramasamy

R – v – Sterecycle (2014)
Successful prosecution of a recycling company for Corporate Manslaughter
Adrian Darbishire QC | Jocelyn Ledward

R v Sidebottom (2014)
Mark Ellison QC represents construction company director on manslaughter by gross negligence charge relating to health and s
Mark Ellison QC | Adrian Darbishire QC

R v C (2014)
Acting for leisure company in health and safety prosecution following the drowning of a schoolgirl on a supervised inland bea
Adrian Darbishire QC

R v Natures Way (2014)
Represented a major food processing company at the Inquest following the electrocution of a sub-contractor.
Adrian Darbishire QC

R v Counsell (2014)
Fireworks contractor acquitted over M5 crash deaths.
Adrian Darbishire QC

London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (2013)
Death outside terminal
Mark Ellison QC

R v M (2012)
Workplace death
Sean Larkin QC

Workplace Fatality: H&S Charges Successfully Defended (2011)
Death of site foreman.  Principal and Sub-Contractor unanimously acquitted.
Adrian Darbishire QC

Geotechnical Holdings Ltd (2011)
Geotechnical Holdings Ltd
Mark Ellison QC | Adrian Darbishire QC


A new era of enforcement in hospital care?
Ben FitzGerald - Barrister at QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers and First Junior Counsel to the Mid Staffordshire Trust Public Inq 29.11.2013
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Corporate Manslaughter
An introduction to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 24.3.2009
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For more information on Fraud-related matters, please contact the clerks on 020 7933 8855 or